Zendrive takes pride in taking a holistic approach to making roads safe. We don’t just have the best, most accurate and cost-effective technology to measure driving. We also have the best, most insightful team dedicated to helping our customers use Zendrive data to give drivers safety coaching and improve their business: Zendrive Customer Success. One of our company values is “Customer Focus,” and we strive to make our customers’ experience better and better over time as we build lasting partnerships.
Though I can’t leap over buildings in a single bound or use x-ray vision, I was honored by the Support Superheroes Meet Up when they asked me to lead a discussion and brainstorming session on the future of customer support and, of course, success! I joined the Support Superheroes meet up earlier this year and was approached to speak on a topic of my choice, representing the Zendrive team.
As a former Project Manager, I naturally draw parallels using Project Management processes and tools to advance internal initiatives and make customer facing interactions better. I decided to educate the group on the fundamentals of Project Management and facilitate a discussion around how those fundamentals often power successful projects and smooth implementations. Though Support Superheroes asked me to lead the meet-up, I walked away from the conversation with a fresh view on the power of project management.
Here are three key takeaways from our discussion that help drive Zendrive Customer Success and delight customers:
1. Feedback and buy in on a timeline
When creating a timeline, make sure you are clear on what content is most important. If you are outlining major bodies of work, you will have workstream with date ranges (over weeks or months) with key milestone dates. If you are outlining tasks, you will be working with action items that have specific due dates. There may be a combination of workstream and action items; that’s great! You can map out action items under the appropriate workstream. Once you draft a timeline, be sure to get buy in from the right stakeholders — first internally and then with customers. The feedback you get allows you to refine your dates and is critical to ensuring the timeline is accurate. The feedback process also helps you get buy in from the owners that will drive the work forward.
2. The power of a single owner
We’ve all experienced what can happen if an owner is not appointed when a project or detailed action item is identified. There’s a certain amount of natural “floating” that can occur without an owner. Yet when an owner volunteers to take the reigns, that creates an immediate sense of stewardship and accountability. Similarly, when an owner is assigned, that person takes on the responsibility of getting the project or action item to the finish line. If there is no clear owner, be sure to make an action item for someone in order to identify one!
3. Temperature checks are key
As a customer facing team member, you often have the best view of a customer’s overall sentiment. For example, you may have a very healthy customer that finds significant value from your product or service, but encounters a hairy situation (e.g. a product bug, differing expectation, miscommunication around roadmap, etc.). In that moment, trust the red flag that goes off in your head and take a temperature check. Come up with a plan — develop a timeline with clear owners that addresses the customer’s concern or the symptoms that are showing. You can sit with your team to get buy in on the plan before proactively communicating with the customer. My advice here is to avoid rushing under pressure. Take your time to make sure the plan is solid — this is your chance to build trust. Temperature checks allow you to take a step back with your team and keep you in sync with the customer. Although this level of attentiveness takes time, you may ward off future customer pain by taking this approach.
As you consider applying Project Management principles to Customer Success and Support, keep in mind that structure and organization go a long way in making customers feel confident and empowered. It’s important to acknowledge the discipline required to take action on a plan you put in place. When given the opportunity to directly shape or manage the customer experience, a plan is helpful, but remember that execution is everything. At Zendrive, we put the customer at the heart of every plan and take pride in being sensitive to timelines, clear owners and action plans that build trust.
To learn more about what drives our Zendrive Customer Success Superheroes to support you and your team, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.